Sartorial Elegance: How Should a Tie Look in Today's Fashion?

So, you have to put on a suit tie for the first time in a long time, and you're not quite sure how to do it. The occasion might be a wedding or perhaps a job interview, but you don't quite know what kind of tie is appropriate.

What type of tie should you choose? Are patterns okay to wear at work? What size tie should you choose?

If you follow a basic tie guide, you should be able to find the perfect tie as long as you know what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. A tie, when selected with care and knotted with utmost precision, can speak volumes about you.

This piece offers essential insights into recognizing high-quality ties, selecting tie dimensions that complement your body type, coordinating ties with outfits, mastering occasion-appropriate tie styles, tying techniques, and using accessories to elevate your tie ensemble – all delivered with a distinctive Southern charm.

Ready to venture into the world of ties?

Qualities of a Good Tie

Before throwing on a tie, it's crucial to make sure that piece is top-notch. I'm a firm believer that every gentleman ought to have the best, showing off his impeccable taste. Now, let's dig into some telltale signs that separate a high-quality tie from just an ordinary one.


From strolling down the Charleston boulevards to the heart of Dixie itself, there's one thing that never changes - silk always steals the show. Southern gents and fashionistas worldwide swear by its breathtaking shine, impressive durability, and elegance that can turn heads at any shindig or a Sunday service. A silk tie hangs just right, ties like a dream, and screams true sartorial excellence.


Like a craftsman who treasures his tools, a gentleman values the intricacy of his wardrobe. Top-notch ties are usually put together from three pieces of fabric stitched with precision to give it that extra finesse. And if you want to go the extra mile, look for the subtle signs of attention to detail, like hand-rolled and hand-stitched hems – that's the kind of craftsmanship that elevates your tie above the run-of-the-mill, off-the-rack options.


Take a peek inside the tie, and you'll learn a lot about its quality. The cream of the crop ties often sport a lining made entirely of wool. This ensures your tie not only ties like a champ but also keeps its shape over time. A wool-lined tie adds a touch of richness and a full look to the knot, which is what every self-respecting Southern gentleman aims for.

Slip Stitch

Now, this might go unnoticed by the average eye, but it's a game-changer. The slip stitch, a small, hidden thread at the seam, helps the tie keep its shape even after it's been worn. It's like a little secret weapon that ensures your tie bounces back to its original form every time you sport it.

How a Tie Should Look When Worn

When you're fixin' to put on a tie, there's a couple of things you'll want to pay attention to. Now, you know a true Southern gent understands that elegance is always in vogue, so you have to show off some character and charm.

Tie Length

In the refined world of men's fashion, it's well-known that a gentleman's tie should measure around 57 - 58 inches. Your tie needs to rest just atop that belt buckle of yours.

Now, don't go making the mistake of letting it dangle too low or hanging it too short. A long tie might make you look like a haphazard schoolboy, and a shorter one could give folks the notion of a belly that's not even there. So, find that sweet spot and aim for the tip of your belt buckle.

Tie Width

When it comes to width, remember that old Southern wisdom: "Always in rhythm and never in excess." Just like the smooth beat of a good jazz blue note, your tie width should be in sync with your jacket's lapel. It's all about balance. If you're struttin' in a slim-fit suit with narrow lapels, go for a skinny tie. And if you're donning something more traditional with broad lapels, opt for a wider tie. Just keep it all in harmony.

Tips for Wearing a Tie Properly

  • Focus on tying your tie properly to showcase a refined Southern gentleman's style.
  • Emphasize the importance of a secure and tight tie knot to avoid looking off-kilter, especially during formal occasions like a Charleston ball.
  • I recommend sticking to simple knots like the Four-In-Hand or Windsor for a more elegant and complementary appearance.
  • Highlight the suitability of specific knots for different collar types, such as the Windsor for cutaway collars and the Four-In-Hand for narrow point and button-down collars.
  • Stress the significance of proportionally balancing the tie knot with the collar spread, regardless of the suit's shoulder width or fit, to maintain an elegant overall look.

 Keep the knot simple, balanced, and secure.

Body Type Considerations

For Tall Guys

Hey, tall guys. There's good news for you! The fashion world has got your back. Get yourself a longer tie; around 60 inches should do the trick. Make sure it lands right at the top of your belt buckle to keep your outfit looking sharp. High Cotton Ties has options for tall guys, so grab a longer tie that fits your height perfectly.

For Broad Guys

If you've got a broader build, focus on the width of your tie, not the length. A wider tie is the key to keeping things balanced and avoiding a top-heavy look. Look for classic, which usually offers ties with a width of 3.5" - 3.75". These wider ties will complement your physique and keep you looking stylish.

Finally, remember to choose a collar that compliments your physique. If you have a long neck, a spread collar may be a suitable option, while those with wider necks might prefer a narrow point collar. Keep in mind that the collar serves as the platform for your thoughtfully selected tie, and a proper fit will highlight the feature rather than overshadow it.

Tie and Outfit Matching

Tie Color

Choose a tie that reflects your personality and adds a touch of color or a stylish contrast to your outfit. Consider your skin tone and outfit color when deciding whether to complement or contrast. For example, if you're wearing a navy suit with a white shirt, a red or gold tie can add a vibrant touch without being overpowering.

If you prefer a more subtle look, opt for a tie in the same color family as your suit but a few shades darker or lighter. For instance, with a khaki suit, a burnt orange or sky blue tie can enhance your ensemble while maintaining a harmonious feel.


When it comes to patterns, pairing a patterned tie with your suit can elevate your overall look. For a pinstripe suit, a tie with a larger-scale pattern like paisley or floral can create a dynamic contrast. For a solid suit, smaller, intricate patterns like polka dots or chevron stripes work well. The key is to maintain balance – if your outfit is bold, choose a more subdued tie, and vice versa.

Adorning Ties to the Occasion

Ties for Formal Occasions

Choose a dark, solid-colored tie for formal occasions, ensuring it's darker than your shirt for a subtle look. Opt for textures like silk for a sophisticated touch. Think of Rhett Butler's black silk tie in "Gone With the Wind" for inspiration.

Ties for Casual Events

For casual events, experiment with bold colors and patterns, like a burgundy and navy blue gingham tie with a chambray shirt. Consider cotton or linen blends for a more laid-back feel. Remember, your tie should reflect your style and complement your outfit rather than overpowering it. Ultimately, it should make you feel comfortable and confident.

A Good-Looking Tie Must Have Accessories

1.   Tie Clip

A well-placed tie clip serves both a practical and aesthetic purpose by preventing your tie from moving around while adding a touch of symmetry and formality to your overall look. It's important to position the tie clip between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt, securing it to the placket, ensuring it's neither crooked nor too high or low.

2.   Tie Bar

Similarly, the tie bar, worn like a tie clip, imparts a sense of gravity to your appearance. For special occasions, such as attending an event at the Governor's mansion, a simple silver tie bar can provide an elegant and understated accent. Just be mindful that the tie bar shouldn't be wider than your tie to maintain a pleasing aesthetic balance.

3.   Collar Pin/ Collar Bar

The collar pin or collar bar, though less commonly used, exudes an old-world charm and sophistication. This accessory makes a statement on its own, elevating the tie knot and creating a stylish arc to the collar.

4.   Pocket Squares

While not strictly a tie accessory, pocket squares contribute an extra layer of elegance to your ensemble. It's essential to avoid matching the pocket square exactly with the tie-in pattern or fabric; instead, opt for complementary colors and designs.

The presence of these accessories doesn't imply that you should use them all simultaneously. Elegance lies in simplicity, and a true gentleman knows when to subtly enhance their look with the right accessory at the right moment.

Here's to Looking Dapper!

In the world of fashion, where details make all the difference, the humble tie emerges as a powerful symbol of sophistication and style. As we navigate the intricacies of knotting and color coordination, it becomes clear that a tie is not just an accessory but a statement.

So, next time you reach for that silk or satin masterpiece, remember that a well-chosen and expertly tied tie is the finishing touch that elevates your entire ensemble. Let your tie speak volumes about your attention to detail and passion for refined elegance – because, in the grand tapestry of fashion, a perfectly adorned necktie is the ultimate brushstroke that completes the portrait of a well-dressed individual.

Allow me to extend an invitation to subscribe to my periodic newsletters, which serve as a comprehensive companion for mastering the intricacies of necktie sophistication and choice. Waste no time and enlist swiftly. Your inbox shall soon be graced with a plethora of premier Southern-inspired fashion counsel, ensuring you discover the ideal tie and don it with unparalleled finesse!